ROME (Reuters) -Italy’s government was under growing pressure on Monday to dissolve the Forza Nuova neo-fascist group involved in violent weekend protests against a government drive to make the COVID-19 “Green Pass” mandatory for all workers.
Since its foundation in 1997, Forza Nuova has repeatedly been accused of using violence against immigrants and police. Along with the CasaPound group it is the main neo-fascist organisation still active in Italy.
Twelve people, including Forza Nuova leader Roberto Fiore, were arrested and 38 police were injured in clashes on Saturday night, when thousands of protesters took to the streets of Rome. One group broke into the headquarters of the CGIL trade union.
Workers will from Oct. 15 have to show a digital or paper “Green Pass” certificate demonstrating they have received at least one vaccine dose, have tested negative or recently recovered from the virus.
Italy is the first country in Europe to make such vaccine certification mandatory in order to accelerate vaccinations and stamp out coronavirus infections.
On Monday, the centre-left Democratic Party (PD) presented a motion in parliament calling on Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s administration to dissolve Forza Nuova and all political movements of neo-fascist inspiration.
“We hope that all genuinely democratic political forces will sign it … The time has come to put an end to ambiguities regarding fascism,” the PD said in a statement.
On Monday evening, Forza Nuova’s website was forced offline by a court order following allegations the group had used the site to encourage criminal activity.
After meeting Draghi at the union’s headquarters, CGIL leader Maurizio Landini said the government had pledged to discuss the dissolution of Forza Nuova in the coming days, without giving further details.
“The prime minister has expressed the solidarity of the government and the commitment of all institutions to prevent the return of a past we don’t want,” Landini said.
On Saturday, dozens of rioters also targeted the emergency unit at Rome’s Policlinico Umberto I hospital, where one of them was being kept for treatment, forcing health workers to barricade themselves inside.
The disorder was widely condemned, including by Matteo Salvini and Giorgia Meloni, leaders of the rightist League and Brothers of Italy parties, who are often accused by leftist parties of not distancing themselves enough from extremists.
The League has said violence cannot be justified, but asked Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese – a technocrat without party affiliation – to resign, saying she had proved unable to handle the disorder.
Two separate probes into the anti-vaccination riots in the capital have been opened by Rome prosecutors, Italian media reported.
(Editing by Catherine Evans and Crispian Balmer)